What is Social Liberalism?

This video discusses the rise of social liberalism in the late nineteenth century. It arose as an alternative to classical liberalism. Classic liberalism was in favor of free market economics, the rights of the individual, and limited government. Social liberalism arose to challenge this view. They believed that the solutions to inequalities in society were to be found in government institutions. The goal was to somehow maintain individual freedoms and balance those with the overall good of society. Social liberals believed that more government (laws, regulations, enforcement) is the best means to achieving the ends of overall societal good without minimizing too many individual freedoms. Social liberals (as opposed to classic liberals) believed firmly that government should be involved in the economy and extend social welfare or social services to people. This was in response to the ebb and flow of the free market that sometimes left those at the bottom of the economy in dire circumstances. It was believed that the government could keep the troughs from being too deep (though that makes the peaks less high) while providing some security to those who would struggle to survive during those economic downturns.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 14, 2021